Plus - People and events

Society that helps many to walk, needs a helping hand

By Megara Tegal

It is an organization which has helped many, providing custom-made limbs free of charge. Now the Colombo Friend In Need Society (CFINS) is in need of a helping hand.

Preparing to hold a jumble sale in August to raise funds, the CFINS is requesting generous donors to drop off items such as food, clothes and toys in good condition, so that they can be put up for sale. The profits from the jumble sale will be channelled for the refurbishment of the society's transit hostel.

Needy people who seek limbs from the CFINS workshop spend a week at the transit hostel learning how to use their artificial limbs while also undergoing physiotherapy. If their limbs need to be replaced, the society provides new custom-made limbs free of charge.

The transit hostel is in need of painting, a society member said, pointing out that even some of the equipment used in the preparation of food needs repair. "The transit hostel is badly in need of repairs. The toilets need to be replaced as the patients' wheelchairs bang against the washbasins and they crack," the member said.

The small kitchen space consists of two paraffin stoves placed on the floor and the society's Vice President explains the difficulty they face in preparing meals. "The blender is broken but we're still using it. The fridge is also old and too small to store all the food items."

The society is seeking help particularly from companies not only in the form of funds but also saleable items. The jumble sale will be open to the public in the latter part of August and contributions for the sale will be welcome by July 24, a member said.

Contributions and donations may be handed over to the CFINS head office at 171, Sir James Peiris Mawatha, Colombo 2. For more information, please call 011-2421615 or email:

Interested in exploring interior designing?

By Dhananjani Silva

Do you have an inborn talent to give that unique touch to your residence, office or hotel? Or are you awaiting the discovery of the art of interior designing?

Swarna Obeysekere

To meet the modern challenges in interior design, the Swarnashastra Institute of Design has introduced a new curriculum for prospective students. An orientation programme is scheduled for next Saturday, July 9 from 9.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. at the Sasakawa Centre Colombo 3.

The orientation programme will be on the importance of interior designing as a career, says a pioneer teacher in Sri Lanka for interior design, Swarna Obeysekere, the proprietor of Swarnashastra Institute of Design.

"There are some who do not know what interior design means. It is something you can even do from home or part time. You can also find employment in the furnishing industry in sectors such as curtaining, lighting and decorative accessories or serve as a consultant," she said, explaining that the programme will focus on opportunities for higher education, course content, background, career openings etc.

The course modules have been designed on three levels - foundation level, certificate course and diploma level continuing up to higher diploma and degree levels. The foundation course will include basics such as living designs (indoors, outdoors), space organization, materials and maintenance and object drawing while the certificate course with 11 subject modules will build up on the skills and knowledge acquired at the basic level including time with an experienced designer. The diploma level will add professionalism to the skills and knowledge acquired with work experience supplemented by a local or overseas study tour being included.

To reserve a seat at the orientation programme, please contact: 0770353327 or email:

CCSE on a sponsorship drive to help those with special needs

Bringing the handiwork and talents of the students of the Colombo Centre for Special Education (CCSE) to the limelight, Expressions 2011 will come alive on Thursday, July 7 at the Lionel Wendt Art Gallery from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The event will feature paintings, serviettes, dishtowels, wrapping paper, cards, notepads, wooden items, among other art and crafts done by the differently-able children at the CCSE. The chief guest will be the Bishop of Colombo, Rt Rev. Dhiloraj Canagasabey and Mrs. Harshini Canagasabey.

CCSE is a non-profit organization registered under the Social Services Ministry attending to the needs of special persons since 1975. Affiliated to the Anglican Church in Colombo, the centre was initiated as a small venture with just three students back then, but has developed over the years to a fully equipped training centre catering to about 30 with facilities to accommodate four to six students on a long term basis.

CCSE follows the timetable and curriculum recommended for special children in government schools, which includes art, handicraft, greeting cards and envelopes, carpentry, computer aided teaching and Scouting among other things while they are encouraged to sing and dance.

The centre runs with the support of well wishers, friends and volunteers whose generous contributions in a number of ways have ensured its continuous service for these special children. In addition to fund-raising activities and donor funding, the money in fixed deposits providing interest was the mainstay of the funding for the activities of the school, but due to the sharp drop in interest rates, the centre is currently in need of assistance.

The centre costs Rs. 250,000 per month, running with the bare minimum necessities and as such the Board of Management has decided to start a 'sponsorship drive' .

The commitment is Rs. 3,000 per month and would-be sponsors can choose to commit to a year (Rs. 36,000), two years (Rs. 72,000) or even six months (Rs.18,000). Contact Malathy on 011-2586555 or Charika on 011-2591641 during school hours or Lal on 0773021510 for information.

They all joined the Trail

Trail– ‘A journey by the living, for life' through its 27-day walk hopes to raise US$ 2 million to build a Paediatric Cancer Ward at the Jaffna General Hospital.

By Sarinda Unamboowe at Dondra Lighthouse, Matara

If we are lucky, we will be able to make one of our many dreams happen during our lifetime and ‘Trail’ stands as a testament to this. I am stunned that what started off as a bold claim that I would walk the length of this country if there was peace, has now developed into a journey that has found a deserving cause and is a reflection of the true spirit of unity among Sri Lankans.

My friend and colleague Nathan Sivagananathan gave my idea life. Initially, my wife Ashani and I were going to pack a bag and walk. This simple plan evolved because of a cause that has captured the imagination of everyone who has heard about it and has touched our lives. Nathan lost his sister to cancer and has since been a driving force at the 'Colours of Courage Trust'. Hence, we decided to celebrate our newly earned peace and the unity of our nation by rallying around a cause that knows no boundaries. Building a children's cancer ward in Jaffna was that cause.

Trail began at the southernmost tip of Sri Lanka, the Dondra Lighthouse, on Friday. We were joined by a diverse and enthusiastic crowd, whose participation captured the essence of Trail.

My friend Gihan Philip is walking in memory of his late father. He says, "I am able to relate to cancer, and knowing that the small contribution I make will give hope to a fellow Sri Lankan is fulfilling.”

Fashion icon and business leader Otara Gunewardene, one of my oldest friends, says, "I believe giving back in whatever way you can to help improve the lives of those in need is what makes life worth living."
Another old friend Shamilka Samarasinha who knows more about cancer than most of us had this to say, "As a wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend, cancer taught me to appreciate each day for what it is. It's not about tomorrow, the day after, the month or the year ahead of you. “

For Sanjeeva Tennekoon whose father died two weeks ago, it is a dedication. "I dedicate my participation to my father, Uddaka, who passed away on June 15 after an eight-year battle with cancer. Through his prolonged illness and the hardship he faced, I've learned that there is not enough that we can do to help the cause."

Over the next month, we will cover 680km. The route takes us from Matara along the coast to Negombo, then across to Kurunegala, up to Anuradhapura through Padeniya and on to Jaffna.

Nathan and I are not exactly Olympic athletes, but we have a powerful force behind us. I know we can and we will do it. We will walk each step with happiness………..See you along the Trail.

Food festival

'Colombo Flavours', a food festival to coincide with the Trail walk will be held on July 8 and 9 from 7 p.m. to midnight at Green Path in Colombo.

Top hotels and restaurants including Hilton, Cinnamon Lakeside, Galadari, Ramada, Mango Tree and Raja Bojun will come together to present cuisines which are indigenous to the north and south regions of the island.

'Colombo Flavours' is organized in conjunction with Sri Lanka Tourism.

A school that teaches more than art

The prize-giving of the art competition held by the Shyamala School of Art will be held on July 9 followed by an exhibition of the entries from July 11 at No. 3, Siripa Road, Colombo 5.

The competition and exhibition are being held in celebration of the school's 10th anniversary and Founder Shyamala Pinto Jayawardena said that children from Mullaitivu and Jaffna have sent in entries. It was open to anyone up to the age of 20 and the subject matter could be anything. The children could use any type of material and mix it up.

A strong believer that any institute should be service oriented, Shymala mobilized her School of Art to put together 1,700 packs and distribute them among displaced children soon after the war ended. Later they provided milk food for a year and also sent teachers' packs.

"All this was done through the school and I teach the children that we all have social responsibilities. We have held art camps through many schools and connected with 13 schools in Mullaitivu. The camps have been a success," she says.

A student of Methodist College and later of Cora Abraham School, Shyamala also studied Fine Arts at the University of Kelaniya. She has been teaching art and design for the past 27 years.

While conducting her own classes, Shyamala also works as a dress and handloom designer. The Shyamala School of Art is both Cambridge and Edexcel registered and conducts Edexcel exams not only for Art, but also for other assessment based subjects such as English, Psychology, History and Law.

Colombo Music Festival to blast off next year

The grand musical celebration 'Senses and Soul -- The Colombo Music Festival' involving musicians of Sri Lanka and guest artistes to be held in August next year aims to showcase the rich culture of the country while combating the adverse publicity that is being generated.

To be held from August 24 to 26, 2012 at the Waters Edge Hotel, the organizing committee which comprises members of the music and entertainment fraternity, the business community, the leisure industry, as well as the media, is determined to make it a biennial feature.

Organized by Mantra Moods, Waters Edge Hotel and M Entertainment the music festival will be held in association with the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau, supported by Headlines PR, Digital Interactive '230interactive' and Response Marketing (Pvt) Ltd.

The adverse news coming out of Sri Lanka must be laid to rest. We have much to offer as one of the most ancient civilizations. Therefore, it is time to showcase some of this on a common platform in our own country through a festival of music, said Chairperson Mantra Moods, Haadia Galely.

"It is our aim to promote 'Music the Magic of South Asia' at Senses and Soul, and exert a positive and healing influence across all communities, whether they are resident in Sri Lanka or overseas," she said extending an invitation to expatriate Sri Lankan musicians to participate in this unique event.
The benefits of this festival are numerous, according to Ms. Galely. Apart from providing a platform to showcase music, it will serve to enhance the country's image as a quality tourist destination, while dispensing with its former image as a country torn by war and ethnic conflict.

The festival will present a montage of music, comprising world (fusion), oriental, folk, choral, pop, jazz, western as well as eastern classical . Workshops, discussions and performances for aspiring artistes are on the cards. It will also include the initiation of the 'Senses and Soul Federation of the Performing Arts' while a regional food festival will be held around the city.

"We intend to educate through music and provide not just entertainment but knowledge as well as a window of opportunity for our aspiring young musicians and professionals," said Ms. Galely.
The funds generated from the festival will be disbursed among selected charities and towards the development of talented artistes.

"We hope that all Sri Lankan musicians, regardless of where they now reside, regardless of age, ethnicity or religion will perform together in a bid to show the world what Sri Lanka has to offer," Ms Galely added.

For more information, please call the festival secretariat on +94777369400 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Don’t miss these Sinhala theatre greats

A festival of some of the greatest Sinhala theatrical plays written by Prof. Ediriwira Sarachchandra such as ‘Maname’, ‘Kapuwa Kapothi’ (comedy) and ‘Sinhabahu’ will be staged from July 8 - 10 at the Lionel Wendt Theatre at 3.30 p.m. and 7 p.m. each day. Box plan and tickets are available at the Lionel Wendt Theatre Office.

Lecture by archaeo-metallurgist

'Asian iron from first millennium BC Sri Lanka to Japanese steel: A root and branch view of technology and evolution,' a special lecture by Dr. Gill Juleff of the University of Exter organized by the Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka will be held on Thursday, July 7 at 5 p.m. at the Mahaweli Centre, 96 Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha, Colombo 7.

Dr. Juleff is an archaeo-metallurgist specialising in archaeology of iron. Her main research areas are in Sri Lanka and India where she is engaged in two research projects, Monsoon Steel and Pioneering Metallurgy.

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